A new Evides drinking-water inlet will be located on the Bergsche Maas river, in the midst of the ecological polders of National Park De Biesbosch. Would it be possible to design an inlet that merges fully with its surroundings, i.e. the Biesbosch ecosystem? An inlet that blends into an area of reeds and water, of otter and beaver, of willow and wicker?
BoschSlabbers and ZJA designed the building as a flood hill, integrally combining all its functionalities and extending the landscape all the way into its core. For the inlet building, a flood hill will be erected with a height of +5,00 metres above sea level, and all functionalities will be accessible on the inside via a spacious maintenance plaza. This ensures the building keeps its feet dry at all times.
The inlet operates as ‘maw’ of the drinking-water system, where surface water is let in to be cleaned and treated via a series of reservoirs and processes, and from there on flows to our taps as clean drinking-water. As such, as a spatial object, the inlet station needs to be a recognisable part of the water system, referring to its function.
To achieve this, functionalities asking for daylight and visibility, which include its conference room, cantina and control room, are ‘lifted’ like a dewdrop from the underlying functional ring, and designed as a recognisable orientation point for the vicinity. As such, the dewdrop determines the look of the building. In the evenings, it is lighted from the inside, making it a striking object in the darkness of the river landscape.
Water and slopes as barriers, instead of fences, and all ‘hard’ functionalities hidden from sight by slopes, reed and wicker. Nature reaches up to or even into the skin of the building, minimising the inlet’s impact on its surroundings. As a result, ecological surface loss is only 0,2 hectares, or 1,5% of the Fortuna polder, while ecologically interesting gradients are created with its groundworks.
Title: Inlet station Bergsche Maas
Location: Geertruidenberg, Noord-Brabant, NL
Size: 3 ha
Cooperation: Zwarts Jansma Architecten
Image credits: BoschSlabbers, Zwarts Jansma Architects
Project code: bs-T 17-03